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Is this the Web Browser of the Future? RockMelt Reviewed


These days it’s difficult to get excited about a web browser offering, however from the beginning RockMelt is focused on being different. It’s one of those rare tools that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. It’s promising a new type of browsing experience that merges search, social, and news feeds all in one place.

This week I grabbed an invite for the private beta version and began using it exclusively. Those who use Google Chrome will fit right in with RockMelt considering the browser is built on the same open source Chromium platform.

RockMelt has 4 primary uses

The ability to share websites

The ability to search

Facebook + Twitter integration

Keeping up with your favorite feeds

Sharing

Sharing a website across Facebook and Twitter was easy. A share button gives you the ability to post to your wall or send out a Tweet and share your location if so desired.

Search

RockMelt is plenty fast and has Google Search built into it. The search bar (located in the upper right corner) provides search results and looks just like Google. Unfortunately maps and YouTube videos currently don’t show up in the search bar.

Social

Before you can use the browser, RockMelt promts you to connect with your Facebook account. Once connected a left hand column notifies you which of your friends is currently online and hovering over their picture will reveal their latest status update. It’s easy to start chatting with any of your friends or send them a message. I found this particularly useful considering with Firefox I was keeping a Facebook tab open most of the day. There is also the ability to categorize your friends and organize your favorites so they show up first.

Feeds

The far right sidebar contains news feeds. I was able to get the latest news from ESPN, TechCrunch, and Mashable instantly. I was a bit disappointed with the Twitter feed and needed more than what RockMelt could give me. Multiple Twitter accounts could be added, but only the entire feed for each one was shown. I couldn’t see direct messages or use lists (which is a must have in my opinion). I contacted RockMelt and a representative told me that the demand is high and they are working on how to incorporate Twitter lists in the future.

Summary

RockMelt is pointed in the right direction and could be on to something big here. The largest detractor is that there’s a lot to keep track of and some users don’t particularly enjoy being bombarded with news updates and Facebook friends. For the over-connected such as myself, RockMelt is beyond useful and a serious competitor in the crowded web browser market. Although there is a bit of a learning curve, RockMelt gives me capabilities that I simply can’t get using other browsers. I look forward to seeing future developments.


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